PHUKET TOWN: The involvement for the first time of the powerful Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party should add a new dimension to Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) elections in Phuket, scheduled for March 14. This development has put two former vice-presidents and colleagues, Samroeng Chaisorn and Wisut Santikun, on opposing teams as rival candidates for OrBorJor President. K. Samroeng will campaign as head of the OrBorJor Gao Mai TRT (“New Step TRT”) party while K. Wisut will lead the OrBorJor Gao Mai Khonbaanrao (“New Step Our People”) party. Both have now launched their campaigns, introducing team members and announcing some of their policies. “We will continue to develop Phuket,” K. Wisut told a media conference last night. “We believe that the local administration should have a certain [independent, non-political] standpoint.” He said his party was still open to candidates with the right qualifications. The Chairman of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, Pamuke Achariyachai, is one person who has been approached, he added. The current Chairman of the OrBorJor, Somchai Duangkae, who has sided with K. Wisut, emphasized that the local administration should be independent and able to set its own policies. “It will be best for the local community if [the OrBorJor] is run by independents,” K. Somchai explained. “If there’s a national party behind the scenes, the team will lose its freedom to manage. “But though we are independent, we are ready to cooperate with all who wish to work for the local community.” This morning, 200 people turned up at the Phuket Merlin Hotel to hear K. Samroeng speak. A senior figure in the TRT, Pichate Satirachaval, also attended, as did the current OrBorJor President, Dr Prasit Koeysiripong. Dr Prasit is stepping down from the OrBorJor and is expected to run as a TRT candidate in parliamentary elections due next year. K. Pichate said that the TRT agree to back K. Samroeng’s campaign in order to continue the good work of Dr Prasit. It was important that local politics be connected with national politics, he added. “Economic development has to begin from the grass roots, with local administrations like the OrBorJor. Then we can carry the work from the local arena to the national arena.”
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